Katie, Age 6
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Inside Schools has posted a piece questioning the lack of Integrated Co-Teaching classes for Gifted and Talented students. Read it here.
Read Yasmeen Khan's, "School bus issues continue to dog special ed community."
Principal Rashid F. Davis has written a piece for SchoolBook on the benefits to co-teaching. Read it here.
Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) has filed a complaint with the New York State Education Department against the NYC Department of Education (DOE) for its failure to provide students with disabilities necessary behavioral supports as mandated by law. See here for more information from AFC and see SchoolBook and WABC TV for coverage.
See quotes from ARISE members on the intersection of students with disabilities and the roll-out of the Common Core standards in Yasmeen Khan's piece on SchoolBook.
NY1's New Yorker of the Week last week is about a coach who helps youth with disabilities build their skills through basketball. See Roma Torre's piece here.
The NYC DOE has released some liimited data on the first phase of the special education reform. See Philissa Cramer's piece on Gotham Schools.
The Independent Budget Office has released an analysis of schools the City wants to close this year. Once again, they serve large percentages of students with disabilities and English Language Learners. See Gotham Schools, SchoolBook and NY1.
For news on how the first day back to school after the bus strike affected students and families see Gotham Schools', "Return of yellow school buses brings relief and new challenges," and Lori Podvesker on SchoolBook.
See Ben Adler's piece in City Limits, "Advocates Pan City's Record on Disabilities."
Read news about the end of the NYC school bus strike in Gotham Schools, NY1, the New York Times, the Daily News, the New York Post, SchoolBook, and the Wall Street Journal. And for a parent's perspective see Marni Goltsman's blog, Capturing Autism.
Hear Yasmeen Khan's piece on WNYC, "NYC School Bus Strike Takes Toll on Disabled Kids."
Bryan Strommer, a student at the Lab School, has launced an anti-bullying campaign in NYC. Read about it here.
Watch Lindsey Christ's piece, "Some low income students without buses have issues with car service programming" on NY1.
See the ARISE Coalition's oped on the bus strike, "Disabled students, left out in the cold," in the NY Daily News.
Read about the recent federal guidelines requiring schools to make sports teams accessible for children with disabilities in the Daily News.
See Yoav Gonen and Yorena Mongelli's, "Hardships mount for NYC families with special needs children due to school-bus employee strike" in the NY Post.
Advocates say that policies to help parents cope with the bus strike fall short. See Emma Sokoloff-Rubin's piece in Gotham Schools.
See Sailing Autistic Seas for a parent's perspective of navigating transportation during the strike.
See Eileen Riley-Hall's excellent commentary, "The kids who get left behind," in the Albany Times Union on students with disabilities and standard academic assessments.
See Gotham Schools, "For one family, bus strike means 8 busses, 4 trains, and few options."
News coverage on the strike and the effect it has on students with disabilities and their famliies continues. See Art McFarland's piece on Eyewitness News and two pieces on NY1 available here and here.
In other news, Districts are required to give disabled student-athletes access to sports or create leagues for them. See the Associated Press and guidance from the Federal Department of Education for more.
After a number of principals complained in the press, the DOE is now rolling back some new policies regarding funding for students with disabilties in NYC public schools. See Gotham Schools' "After backlash, City tweaks special education funding rules."
Advocates in Chicago have filed a lawsuit charging the city with failing to provide timely special education services for students with disabilities transitioning to preschool. See "Chicago Faulted on Learning Disabilities."
See Inside School’s, “Applying to middle school with an IEP,” highlighting recommendations and tips from Advocates for Children for families during the admissions season.
An audit of the New York State Education Department by the State Comptroller’s office found that while the state spends around $2 billion a year on preschool for children with disabilities, NYSED has not visited and audited a single contractor involved in the program since 2007. See David Halbfinger’s piece in the New York Times.
The Campaign for Educational Equity has released two reports showing New York State is failing to provide students with a constitutionally mandated adequate education. Access both, Essential Resources: The Constitutional Requirements for Providing All Students in New York State the Opportunity for a Sound Basic Education and Deficient Resources: An Analysis of the Availability of Basic Educational Resources in High-Needs Schools in Eight New York State School Districts here.
The Office of the Special Investigator for the New York City DOE has found that a Brooklyn principal cut special-education services from her high school and forced teachers to change records of students with disabilities inappropriately. See Yoav Gonen’s, “Brooklyn principal short-changed special ed kids to cash in: DOE Documents.”
Advocates for Children and the Alliance for Quality Education released recommendations to protect preschool special education programs at a press conference in Albany. In those, they encouraged the state to vigorously audit programs and improve financing procedures. See here for more.
A Brooklyn school has been accused of cutting special education services to cut school costs. See here for more.
An audit by the NYC Comptroller's Office has found problems with special education billing over recent years. See Yasmeen Kahn's piece on SchoolBook here.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged the NYC DOE with false billing of the federal Medicaid system for counseling services for low-income pupils with special needs. See Beth Fertig on SchoolBook.
The UFT says that test scores went down in schools that participated in the first phase of the City's special education reform. See the Daily News.
Recruiting efforts are underway in NYC in response to a chronic shortage of speech-language pathologists. See Yasmeen Kahn in School Book.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights says that, from 2009 to 2011, the agency received more complaints about disability issues than ever before in a three-year period. See Nirvi Shah's piece on Education Week.
While NYC public school classes continue to be over-crowded, the UFT has raised concerns that the number of NYC's special education classes that are overcrowded has doubled in the past year. See Gotham Schools and Inside Schools for more on this.
To learn more about current challengees families are having in obtaining related services for preschool children with special needs see DNAInfo.
For coverage of Deputy Chancellor Rello-Anselmi’s visit to the Citywide Council on Special Education and her discussion about special education reform (now being called “A shared path to success”) see Yasmeen Kahn’s piece on SchoolBook and Rachel Cromidas on Gotham Schools.
See Education Week for coverage of recommendations made by the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination calling for reform of instruction and testing used to measure progress of students with severe cognitive disabilities.
See the 28th issue of Bank Street College of Education's Occasional Papers, "Inclusive Classrooms: From Access to Engagement."
See City Limits for an oped on the City's special education reform efforts from our founding organization, Advocates for Children. See "On special education, school department must do its homework."
Bryan Stromer, the student representative to the Citywide Council on Special Education, writes on SchoolBook, "Students must speak up for real inclusion."
To read about some of the City's special education bussing woes this year see the Daily News', "Brooklyn parents fume as buses don't show," and "City socks busing company that took schoolkids on five-hour rides home."
For more news on the special education reform see DNAinfo's "Special Ed Changes Create Battle to Find Kindergarten Seats," and Beth Fertig's piece, "Families Struggle with New Special Education Rules," on SchoolBook.
See Al Baker's article in the New York Times for coverage of the Fund for the Public Advocacy's report on the special educaiton reform and Yoav Gonen's piece in the New York Post for an update from a parent's perspective on her son's need for a classroom placement under the reform.
See Inside Schools "Here's Help for Special Ed Parents," for information parents of students with disabilities need to know as the school year begins.
For more on the NYC special education reform see "Special Education Reform Brings City More in Line with National Trend," on SchoolBook.
New York City's high needs schools -- those with high poverty rates and lareger percentages of students with special education needs or English Language Learners -- have low standardized test scores. See Lindsey Christ on NY1.
A report from the Government Accountability Office says that students with disabilities face massive challenges using federal services that are supposed to help them transition from high school and into college or the workforce. See here for a piece on the Huffington Post. See here for the report itself.
The New York Times reports that students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be suspended as their non-disabled peers, with the highest rates among black males with disabilities. See Motoko Rich's piece here.
Go here to listen to Shael Polakow-Suransky, the Chief Academic Officer of the NYC DOE on the Brian Lehr show on the special education reform and announcing office hours and a new hotline for parents of students receiving special education supports. For more on this see Patricia Willins’ piece on SchoolBook and Pam Wheaton on Inside Schools.
The new Deputy Chancellor for Special Education talks about moving forward with the special education reform and improving data collection and analysis around the reform. See, "At a critical moment, a new special education chief takes over."
The New York Times has another piece on the whistleblower teacher who complained that his school was failing to meet the needs of his students. See, "On Special Education, Spurned Teacher is Vindicated."
For more on concerns of advocates about the implementation of the special education reform. See Yasmeen Kahn's piece on SchoolBook.
A proposed bill on charter schools and special education services has some concerned. See Gotham Schools.
Advocates for Children of New York and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest have filed a law suit against the DOE claiming that the City has failed to provide critical translation and interpretation services for parents of students with disabilities who do not speak English. See Rachel Monahan's coverage.
At the Citywide Council for Special Eduction meeting the incoming Deputy Chancellor for Special Education answered questions about the special education reform. See SchoolBook for more details.
See Jaye Bea Smalley's, "New Special Education Policies vs. Failed Special Education Policies," on New York City Public School Parents.
The ARISE Coalition and several of its member organizations have expressed concerns about the implementation of the special education reform - calling on the DOE to address key concerns immediately as they continue to roll out the reform. See Philissa Cramer's piece, "City has released only scarce data from early special ed reform," and Ben Chapman and Rachel Monahan's piece in the Daily News.
NYC's Panel for Education Policy approved budget formula changes to the special education funding plan. See Grace Tatter's article in Gotham Schools.
See Micheal Powell's article in the New York Times, "Helping Special Education Students, and Paying With His Career."
See Jessica Campbell's profile of a full inclusion school, "At The Queens High School of Teaching, A Model of Inclusion."
The state is preparing to implement a clause in its charter school law that requires the schools to serve their fair share of high-needs students, including proporational rates of students with disabilities. See Rachel Cromidas' piece in Gotham Schools.
Some groups are urging caution as the City's special education reform moves forward. See Phillisa Cramer's piece in Gotham Schools.
Additional high schools, including several highly coveted ones, will be exempted next year from meeting their special education targets under the reform. See Meredith Kolodner's piece on Inside Schools, "Elite & audition schools get special ed pass."
NYC will be adding special education teachers to their roster next year. See The Wall Street Journal for details.
Yoav Gonen writes in the New York Post that the UFT and some principals are worried about funding for students with disabilities.
See Bryan Stromer's excellent piece on SchoolBook, "Why should a disability limit high school choice?"
Read Yoav Gonen's piece in the NY Post, "State English Tests Dissed Deaf Students."
To learn about the state's current proposals on graduation requirements for students with disabilities see Anna Phillip on the New York Times' SchoolBook.
Changes to state tests hit many students with disabilities twice as hard. See Jessica Campbell's piece in Gotham Schools.
Laura Rodriguez, the DOE's Deputy Chancellor who leads the Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners, will be retiring at the end of the school year. See Gotham Schools and SchoolBook.
Read Micheal Winerip's "Keeping Students' Mental Health Care Out of the E.R."
To read about the DOE's Parent Information Sessions on their special education reform see "Acquainting parents with new special ed plans," on SchoolBook.
See Marni Goltsman’s blog entry on Inside Schools, “Why exclude special education students?”
Tension is building in school communities over the special education reforms. Read Merdith Kolodner's article, "Parents fight to keep out special ed kids." in Inside Schools.
Small schools that have opened to replace larger closing schools serve fewer students with with special education needs. For a thoughtful analysis of available data see Jackie Bennet's piece in Edwize.
The city is planning to move a program for students with disabilities now located in East New York and several parents say their children are being left behind either because there is insufficient room at the new location or because travel time will make the new site unfeasible. See the story in the Daily News.
Read "Will overcrowding undermine special education reform?" in Inside Schools.
See Inside Schools' for news on the application process to kindergarten for students with disabilities, "Special Needs Children Need Not Apply."
The City's top middle schools are also being told to serve greater numbers of students with disabilities under the special education reform. See Meredith Kolodner's piece in Inside Schools.
More recommended reading -- Beth Fertig's piece on SchoolBook, "Do High-Needs Students Affect a School's Grade?"
The Independent Budget Office has released data analysis of student populations at the schools NYC plans to close showing a high concentration of students with disabilties, English Langauge Learners, and students who are overage for thier grades. See the report itself here and a Gotham Schools piece.
Recommended reading -- "From a School Facing Turnaround, a Tale of Academic Perseverance" in Gotham Schools.
For an interesting piece on service dogs and children with disabilities see the New York Times Magazine's article, "Wonder Dog".
Parents, advocates (including the ARISE Coalition), and several of the NYC mayoral candidates held a press conference to discuss the implications of school closure policies on at-risk students, including students with disabilities. See Gotham Schools, School Book, and the Daily News.
Next fall the DOE will require NYC's screened and selective high schools to admit greater numbers of students with IEPs. Read more in Ben Chapman's Daily News piece.
Read Comptroller John Liu's "Audit Report on the Procurement of Direct Student Services by the Department of Education."
See Pam Wheaton's piece on Inside Schools, "Walcott okays roll-out of special ed reform."
See Principal Phil Weinberg's piece on SchoolBook about "The Failed Potential of the Progress Reports" and his concern that the reports create a disincentive for schools to work with students most at-risk or for schools to work collaboratively and share best-practices.
To read about DOE contracts with private companies and a discussion on SESIS see Adrienne Day's "10 Percent Wrong" in City Limits.
See Jillian Jonas' piece in Gotham Gazette on how "Barriers Keep Many Disabled New Yorkers Trapped in Poverty."
Mandate relief proposals from SED to the State Regents were approved - with a big change - the proposal to eliminate the school psychologist at many IEP meetings was taken off the table. See Gotham Schools.
For an interesting piece on the special education reform and the need for some students to remain in self-contained settings see Beth Fertig's piece, For Some Special Ed Students, Inclusion is Deferred.
Stuggling with Special Education Charter Schools Join Together. See Gotham Schools.
NYC's high school progress reports will now award extra credit to schools that move students with disabilities to less-restrictive environments. See Gotham Schools.
To read about Chancellor Walcott's statements on SESIS, see Gotham Schools.
The UFT has concerns about NYC's new Special Education Student Information System read here.
NYC charter schools serve lower percentages of students with disabilities and English Langauge Learners than community schools. See the Daily News.
Inside Schools posts information about busing questions for students with disabilities.
Parents need a voice in teacher evaluation. See NYC Public School Parents Blog.
Students with disabilities were less likely to be included in school-wide activities in the 2010-11 school year than in the prior year. See Ben Chapman's Daily News article.
For an interesting article on NYC charter schools and students with disabiltiies see the New York Times.
NYC will increase class sizes for students in Integrated Team Teaching classes. See Daily News.
Evaluations for students with disabilities necessary to receive special education supports and services are backed up. See Gotham Schools.
40% of teacher evaluations will be based on test scores. New York Times.
City officials agreed to restart the citywide education council voting process. Gotham Schools.
Elections for district and citywide parent councils, including the Citywide Council on Special Education, have been extended under criticism that the elections were flawed. See Gotham Schools.
Read Marni Goltsman's blog entry, When autism makes 1st grade too hard, on Inside Schools.
A first grade student at a NYC public school was handcuffed. See the Daily News article here.
Dennis Walcott begins work as New York City's new Chancellor of Education. See the story on NY1.
Meredith Kolodner of the New York Daily News reports on the DOE's failure to provide Transition Support Services and to plan for students with disabilities exiting high school. See her article here.
Data just released by New York State education officials calculates that under 17% of students with disabilities in New York State graduate college and career ready. See the New York Times article for more detail.
A report released by the New York Civil Liberties Union shows that New York City schools have been overusing suspensions as a disciplinary tool, and students with disabilities have been particularly affected. See here to read the report. See here, here, and here for press coverage.
New York City’s Independent Budget Office released a report on the schools the Department of Education wants to close next year. The report shows that those schools have more students with higher needs than others in the system – including students with disabilities. Read the report here. See NY 1’s coverage of the report here. To read a statement from Advocates for Children on the closing schools see here.
The special education reforms which are being piloted this year in 265 Phase 1 schools will be rolled out to the remainder of all city schools a year later than was originally planned. See the Inside Schools piece here citing a memo from Chancellor Black to principals announcing the plans.
New York City Board of Education Chancellor Joel Klein has announced his resignation and Mayor Bloomberg has announced his intent to appoint Cathleen Black. See some of the press reports here, here, and here.
The Center for Fiscal Equity released a report, "Diploma Dilemma: Rising Standards, the Regents Diploma, and Schools that Beat the Odds" finding that: NYC high schools with similar students vary dramatically in their ability to help those students graduate, particularly with Regents diplomas; and that students entering high school least likely to graduate have poor eighth grade reading and math skills, limited English proficiency, disabilities, irregular attendance, or are overage. The read the report see here.
For more press coverage of the start of the school year and students with disabilities see a second article from the Daily News on busing concerns and a piece on accessibility issues in the Daily News as well. See also, the New York Post for an article on access to kindergarten.
See Meridith Kolodner's article about busing woes for students with disabilities at the start of the 2010-11 school year in New York City.
Go here to read about the September meeting of the Citywide Council on Special Education on the curent changes in special education in NYC.
See here for coverage of Save Our Schools, a NYC coalition of parent leaders, parents, activists, and elected officials, and their call for the city to stop relying so heavily on standardized tests.
See Sharon Otterman's New York Times article, "A Struggle to Educate the Severely Disabled" describing the efforts of a family and school to educate a young man with significant disabilities. And see here for Letters to the Editor on the piece. (Posted 06/28/10)
See Lindsey Christ's piece on NY1, "Special Ed Programs May Face City, State Budget Cuts."
The number of students receiving special education services in New York City rose considerably this year. See the report on NY1.
State records show that NYC's charter schools enroll far fewer of the most severely disabled students than traditional public school. See the Daily News article here for more.
Jennifer Medina of the New York Times reports on the progression of the special education reforms in New York City. See the article here.
Meredith Kolodner of the New York Daily News reports that students with disabilities are falling victim to the fierce battle to find space for charter schools inside city school buildings. See the article here.
For an intersting editorial on Civil Rights in Education from the New York Times see here.
Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio held a town hall meeting for parents of NYC public school students. Raphael Rivas from the Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled spoke up on behalf of students with disabilities. See the coverage from the Park Slope Courier here.
New York State and New York City released graduation data for the Class of 2009 (2005 cohort). See the State's data here, and the Cit's here. See also press coverage from Gotham Schools, the New York Times, and the New York Post.
The Federal House of Representatives approved a bill to restrict the use of forcible restraint and seclusion, in which children are held down, drugged or isolated in a locked room to control their behavior. Read about it here.
See the New York Times article on resources for parents of students with learning disabilities from Saturday, Febraury 27.
Parents of students with disabilities are extremely concerned about the effect the City’s school closings and program re-locations will have on their children. To learn more see Maura Walz's pieces and all the related comments on Gotham Schools here and here, and read a statement from Advocates for Children here.
A new study done by Aaron Pallas, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College and Jennifer Jennings, an assistant professor at New York University, shows that small high schools, particularly those that have replaced large high schools formerly housed at the same sites, don’t always enroll the neediest students including those with special education needs. See here and here for more information about the study.
The beginning of the school year got off to a rocky start for some students with disabilities and their families who depend on specialized bus services to get to school on time. See NY1 reporter Lindsey Whitton Christ’s piece and Rachel Monahan and Meridith Kolodner’s article in the Daily News.
The New York State Board of Regents voted on July 27, 2009 to elect Dr. David Milton Steiner as New York State Education Commissioner and President of the University of the State of New York. Read the press release from the Regents here.
On July 3, Chancellor Klein created a new cabinet level position at the Department of Education. He appointed Laura Rodriquez as Chief Achievement Officer for Special Education and English Language Learners. That same day, Garth Harries provided the Chancellor with a memorandum listing recommendations regarding New York City’s special education system. The Chancellor has made those recommendations public and is requesting comment by mid-August. To view Harries’ recommendations and learn more about Ms. Rodriquez, go to DOE’s press release here. To view the ARISE Coalition response to Mr. Harries' recommendations see here.
On June 8 the Department of Education made known that Garth Harries, the Senior Coordinator for Special Education, will also be leaving at the end of the month to become an Assistant Superintendent of Public Schools in New Haven Connecticut. See the DOE's press release here.
Linda Wernikoff, the Executive Director for Teaching & Learning Special Education Initiatives at the New York City Department of Education, has announced that she is stepping down at the end of the school year. For more information see the Gotham Schools article, “City’s top special ed official will leave at school year’s end.” In addition, Dr. Marcia Lyles, the Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, under whose auspices the Office of Special Education Initiatives operates. Dr. Lyles will be leaving to serve as Superintendent of the Delaware Christina School District. See "City’s top educator has been offered Delaware superintendency", and the DOE's press release for more detail.
A report released by the Public Advocates office on April 30, 2009 analyzing NYC’s high school graduation and discharge trends from 2000-2007 found that the NYC high school discharge system may be artificially increasing the city’s gradation rate by excluding at-risk students, including those with disabilities, who leave school without diplomas. The report contains several disturbing findings regarding the discharge of students receiving special education services highlighting the fact that the special education discharge rate for students in self-contained and District 75 classes has increased over the years. The report can be downloaded here.
The New York City Department of Education has announced another full-scale review of the special education system. Stay tuned for more information on this topic as the DOE plans develop and the advocacy community weighs in.
Click here to see the ARISE Coalition's letter to Chancellor Klein regarding the report.
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